Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Back from Gettysburg

Wow, it was a whirlwind four days in Gettysburg from July 1 to 4. Steve Stanley, Mike Nugent and I had a busy time doing book signings almost constantly, but it was a lot of fun. It was really great seeing Mike, whom I hadn't seen since last summer.

The reception of The Complete Gettysburg Guide has been beyond our expectations, and we are truly humbled and grateful. Everyone has given us such wonderful comments about it, and we especially love hearing from those that have taken it out on the field and used it. But my buddy Steve Basic made the most poignant observation of all, and one I couldn't agree with more: if someone gives this book to, say, a ten year-old, and it sparks his interest in Gettysburg and history in general, then all the hard work was more than worth it.

Over the four days, we had a lot of book signings and talks at wonderful Gettysburg stores such as The American History Store, the Gettysburg Museum and Gift Center, Gallery 30, the Supply Wagon Sutler, as well as at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center. We also attended the Hunterstown Heritage Days over the anniversary of the cavalry fight there, on July 2.

On July 3, it was a special treat to speak in front of a large crowd under the Sacred Trust tent outside the GNMP Visitor Center. During our second book signing inside the VC that day, we were able to meet filmaker Ken Burns, who was signing his books beside us. Below is a pic of Ken, Steve Stanley, me, and Mike Nugent during a short break.

At Hunterstown, I spoke to the attendees about the book and also the preservation efforts going on at Hunterstown. Below is a shot of the talk. Laurie and Roger Harding are true gems as the coordinators of the Hunterstown Historical Society, and it was great seeing the dedication of the new Civil War Trails wayside on their historical property, the Tate farm.

Below is a shot of Steve and I flanking wonderful Custer living historian, Steve Alexander, at the Hunterstown event as he holds his copy of the book.

Here is a pic of me giving my talk during the Sacred Trust (Gettysburg Foundation) event in the tent outside the GNMP Visitor Center on July 3. We had a packed tent, and I got lots of great questions about the book. I think we signed about 40 copies of the book for folks, and we really enjoyed talking to people about the tours and places to see that are included.

Charles Joyce is simply one amazing artist. When you visit Gallery 30 at 30 York Street in Gettysburg, check out his work. During our signing there on July 4, Chuck was having an exhibition of some of his work at the gallery, and I had to have my photo taken with him in front of some of his paintings. He is below on the left.

I'm very glad to be back home after this, my fourth trip this year to Gettysburg. But I can look back on many days of talking to many amazing folks about the book. Now it's time to take time to get some things done around the house! (Oh, and get back to my real job, too!)


  1. It looks like it was a very exciting weekend. The more I read your tour book, the more I look forward to using it. Once again, excellent book.

    Tim Carnahan

  2. J.D., It was a pleasure meeeting you, Steve, and Mike at Gallery 30, and thanks for the kind words. I am enjoying the Guide immensely! Charles Joyce

  3. Thanks again, Tim - the book has wheels... take it out for a spin! :)

    Chuck, fantastic meeting you. You're one heck of an artist, and I wish I had that talent. I think my favorite is your painting of Barlow's Knoll.


  4. JD,
    Your complete "Complete Gettysburg Guide" is a book for the Ages. It is done in such a fashion to get the attention of novice visitors to Gettysburg and the yearly visitors who get to know "Off The Beat" areas of the battlefield. I met you at the Mine in Gettysburg, and you gratiously signed the book for me. (Duane introduced us) Cant wait for the audio compliment to this book and the Antietam book,
    Jim Coyle